Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 14 Hansard (Wednesday, 29 November 2017) . . Page.. 5230 ..
safe to be in suburbia. We support many of the government’s amendments, but we do not support those amendments where the government seeks to replace our approach of giving clear direction to officials in what they must do. The government’s approach leaves, I believe, the heart of the problem, and that is too much discretion.
Whilst Ms Le Couteur is right in saying that enforcement needs to be matched by legislation, the other way around, discretion is also one of the key problems. We want to back up the public servants who are making calls on this. We do not want to put them in a tough situation where they have to use too much discretion. We would much rather the legislation make it very clear that no discretion is required when there is a dangerous dog that has caused serious injury or has killed a person, or has caused serious injury or death to another animal. Unfortunately, what we are seeing today is a watering down of this fact.
Further to this, the government yesterday tabled about 50 pages of amendments, of which about half were unrelated to dangerous dogs. They used this as an opportunity to put through a raft of other amendments. Whilst those amendments are not necessarily all bad, it is not best practice to put through 25 pages of amendments that are not related to dangerous dogs simply because they had an opportunity at 11.55 am yesterday to do so. If they have substantive amendments to the dog legislation, they should not simply use this as an opportunity to ram them through. It is not best practice.
Finally, I would like to thank the staff and the community members who have contributed to the development of this bill. There are many people in our community that have told their stories, and these stories are heartbreaking. Pets such as cats and dogs are very much a part of families, and when people see their cat or their dog mauled, sometimes mauled to death, in front of their eyes, it is pretty heartbreaking; in actual fact it can lead to PTSD as well. I thank them for telling their story. I thank Neil, Ausilia and David for the work they have done in getting to this point, with the government still kicking and screaming. I hope that following today we will at least have some steps in the right direction, albeit not as far as we think we need to go.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill agreed to in principle.
Clauses 1 to 3, by leave, taken together and agreed to.
Proposed new clauses 3A to 3W.
MS FITZHARRIS (Yerrabi—Minister for Health, Minister for Transport and City Services and Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research) (12.02): I move amendment No 1 circulated in my name [see schedule 1 at page 5322], which inserts new clauses 3A to 3W, and table a supplementary explanatory statement to the government’s amendments. We will now get into the detail stage. Although I referenced the intent behind the government’s amendments in response to the